Most families have a box of photos or an album tucked away, kept to remember birthdays, holidays and the like. More often than not, though the faces change, the events and the poses stay the same. Some are kept pristine and others are marked with creases and fingerprints, but what we think about and remember when we look at our own personal photos is what makes them different from everyone else’s.
When I look at my family photos, I see a family that tried to fit into the perfect 90 degree corners of images printed at a drugstore but like most we were far from that perfectly posed picture. I see the good memories: honey my grandfather dripped on the floor, an array of birthday cakes at my grandmother’s small kitchen table, and the matching dresses my sister and I wore every Easter. However, I also see the painful memories, the ones that are outside of those glossy photo edges like the cancer and dementia that consumed both of my grandfathers, my grandmother as she conformed to being a wife, mother and the role of homemaker, and my own struggle with identity.
There are worlds of images we can only see through our thoughts and memories. My artwork delves into my own, bringing memory and reaction to the surface of generic family photos through alteration and addition of materials, as well as the creation of corresponding images that use color, metaphor and object to tell the stories of family and the pieces of them that were intentionally cropped out of the frame.